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I have bought a stretchy synthetic body suit and want to attach decals from EVA foam and possibly fake leather onto the suit. The decals vary from large pieces of fabric and foam to small iron-on like decals. What would be the best way to do this while still keeping it wearable?

I am afraid sewing will cause tearing while wearing, but I guess glue might do the same?

Will glueing a non-stretchy piece on stretchy fabric cause tearing?

  • Do the bits covered by EVA foam need to stretch too? – walrus Oct 24 '17 at 8:51
  • @walrus no, they resemble pieces of armor and such so they don't have to stretch. However the fabric will naturally stretch while putting the suit on, which is why I'm scared attaching a non-stretchy object to it will rip the fabric somehow... – Summer Oct 24 '17 at 9:36
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    I'm afraid I can't give an authoritative answer, but I imagine something like E6000 will hold the foam on just fine. here is a useful article on glues in cosplaying and here is a thread on the RPF (an excellent resource, by the way) in which people discuss a similar issue. Hopefully someone who has actually done this kind of thing will be able to give a proper answer – walrus Oct 24 '17 at 9:55
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    I also have no experience doing anything like this, but maybe gluing along only one edge of a non stretchable piece of EVA would allow most of the fabric under it to stretch freely in most directions. You might even want to glue only the center of one edge (or just the center of the patch) to allow even more fabric freedom. Reinforcing such a center with thread maybe? Alternatively, you could glue the EVA to a slightly larger patch of the stretchable fabric, then sew/glue all the edges of that fabric to the body suit. That way the pressure is distributed across the stretchy patch. – Henry Taylor Oct 24 '17 at 13:21
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The comments are all good - and in answer to your question "Will glueing a non-stretchy piece on stretchy fabric cause tearing?" the answer is most likely yes, or at a minimum, it can cause "runs" (torn yarns that pull through the bodysuit fabric). Also, when the bodysuit fabric stretches, the glued decal might just pop off.

Your potential decal materials from foam, iron-on, and faux-leather will behave quite differently from each other. The foam will have some stretch, the iron-on and faux-leather will have no to very insignificant stretch. You may need different attachment mechanisms for each type of patch.

Even if your decals are stretchy (e.g., thin foam), they may not have have the same stretch factor and in the same direction as the fabric of your bodysuit.

Two ideas: One thing that might work is to adhere the decals with spots of glue or a few tacking stitches (one stitch tied off), sort of like spot welding. This will still allow some stretch of the suit fabric underneath. The fewer attachment points the better to allow for base-fabric stretch, but the more attachments points you have will probably look better.

Another thing to try would be to loosely attach the outline of the patch with running stitches using clear elastic thread. Use as few stitches as possible to still achieve the look you want.

Running Stitch https://www.thespruce.com/working-the-running-stitch-1177571

Clear Elastic Thread http://www.michaels.com/clear-elastic-38-x-5-yards/D010864S.html?mkwid=s9ha3UAHp|pcrid|221603638463|pkw||pmt||pdv|c|prd|D010864S&cm_mmc=zadv_PLASearch--google--sewing-and-fabric-_-sewing-and-fabric-sewing-and-quilting-notions-elastic&utm_source=google&utm_term=&utm_campaign=sewing-and-fabric&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=s9ha3UAHp|pcrid|221603638463|pkw||pmt||pdv|c|prd|D010864S&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIyYLx8uWx1wIVhGx-Ch2yIgrmEAQYBSABEgL64PD_BwE

Good luck! Let us know what you try and how it works out!

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